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Your Dog's Yearly Exam And Picking The Right Vet

Aug 17, 2007
Are you getting your dog his yearly veterinary exam? Do you think that because he is acting fine that he is healthy? Don't fall into a false sense of peace because you cannot visibly see problems. A yearly exam, which is a comprehensive examination, will help your dog to remain healthy. Your vet will be able to see things that you don't, usually before they are too bad. Your vet will check several parts of your dog's body, including:

Abdomen, many abnormalities (lumps, distending, infections, parasitic infestation) can be caught early through checking the abdomen area.

Back, spinal problems can be caught and corrected early.

Eyes, dull eyes can be a symptom of internal parasites. The eyes should also be free of foreign matter and excess mucus. Discharge in the eyes can be a sign of eye infections, which can be contagious to both animals and humans.

Ears, foul odor coming from the ear is often a sign of bacteria and/or infection. Ear mites are also something your vet will be checking for; these are easily transmitted to other pets but not humans.

Feet and Legs, muscle disorders and problems with the paws will be apparent through this.

Heart, listening for abnormal heart rate is very important in catching heart disease in early stages among other things.

Lungs, just like external human chest exams, your vet will listen to the lungs for abnormal breathing, congestion, and coughing. All of these can be signs of more serious problems.

Mouth, abscessed teeth, oral tumors, and unhealthy teeth or gums will be caught through this portion of the exam. Anemia is shown through unhealthy gums, which makes this another very important step.

Nose, nasal discharge can be indicative of a variety of conditions. The most worrisome of these is Canine Distemper.

Skin and Coat, external parasitic infestations will be caught. Your vet will also be looking for any injury to the skin as well as lumps within the skin. The coat is indicative to the internal health of your dog.

Which Vet is Right for You?

With the numbers of options available to most people with dogs, it is surprising to find that very few take much time in choosing their veterinarian. For the most part, gone are the days when there was one vet for several small communities, Today, you can usually find a decent choice of vets within reasonable driving distance from your home. How do you find your vet?

The most obvious way is to look in the phone book. It is not suggested that you choose a vet with only this method, this should be a stepping stone. Find out which vets are close to you, then you will have a list of doctors to check for your dog's care.

Once you have a good idea which vets are within range for you, begin talking to others about the vet they use. Ask is they feel the vet honestly takes the time to give their dog the attention he needs and if they have been happy with results of visits. You may find that many people don't actually care for their dog's vet but don't take the time to find another one. All vets are not created equal!

After talking to others, you have probably narrowed your list. From this modified list, take a trip, go check the offices, meet the veterinarians and office staff. While you are there, waiting to talk to the vet, chat up the receptionist. Find out how the vet's moods are, find out if he has dog allergies (surprisingly, many do). If the vet has allergies to dog dander, your dog is better off with another vet as the doctor may rush through visits due to his allergies. You also need to find out what types of payment each vet accepts and, if you have pet insurance, you need to know whether the vet accepts it or not. Ask about emergency contingencies and whether care is available 24 hours, seven days per week.

With a bit of effort, you will be able to find an excellent vet that you are comfortable with. Since dogs are highly sensitive to the moods/feelings of owners, your comfort will help your dog be as comfortable as possible during those times when he has to see the vet.
About the Author
downtown doggy manufactures dog clothes and dog jackets.
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